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Road Comedy Recap: Do You Even Lyft on Juneteenth…

This weekend I celebrated Juneteenth in Levittown, Long Island, opening for the great Roy Wood Jr.  I feel like that sentence alone packs so much I could just end the blog there, but as a sign of progress Levittown did not move to another town once Roy and I arrived.  Any set of gigs in Long Island can be a pain for someone commuting from New Jersey  because you have to coordinate two different train systems. Door to door it is just as fast to fly to Denver as it is to go from Newark to Levittown via the NJ Transit-LIRR double trouble.  Rule of Thumb – if your commute consists entirely of populations that like to include “strong” as a description of, or moniker for their community, you are in for an inefficient commute.  Roy was gracious enough to ask me to open for him when we were both on the same bar show in April, so no amount of awful infrastructure was going to stop me from saying yes.  So here we go!

 

Friday: Only a Historic, Catastrophic Basketball Loss Could Ruin This Night!

On Friday, in honor of Juneteenth Observed, I went out early to see my friend Brian.  We had burgers at some well regarded burger stand in Massapequa, where the price of items had apparently been frozen since 1983.  Tasty and cheap, I picked up the tab, assuring Brian that thanks to my web cam girl side hustle I could cover our combined $1.14.

 

We then made our way to Governor’s Comedy Club.  Only one show on Friday and I crushed it. It was a good thing I did because a friend and colleague that I have not seen since March showed up with some friends and realized I was not just “I hate work, so the guy who sits near me is funny” level funny, but funny funny.  A recurring theme of my career for the last 6 years – fans of The Black Guy Who Tips showed up (to 2 of the 3 shows over the weekend, more for Roy than me, but still for me too) and my favorite type of fan also showed up Friday: The “I did not know you were going to be here, but I follow you and am a big fan” fans.  Once again, thank you social media algorithms for rendering my fan base a total crap shoot.

 

After selling a few USB cards (all 6 of stand up albums are on one USB card that I sell), Brian gave me a ride to the LIRR.  The 10:29 back to NY Penn would give me breathing room (i.e. Haagen Dazs kiosk milkshake drinking time) before the 1141pm train home.  When I exited the train in Penn the Utah Jazz, my favorite team for 34 years, was winning 72-50 at halftime, on the road.  My former doorman texted me a gif of Jordan Clarkson. My girlfriend texted me “jazzzzzzzzzz,” which meant the Jazz were either winning or falling asleep.  Then, like all things NJ transit touches, the Jazz game went to shit as soon as I got on NJ transit (but my doorman friend and girlfriend jinxing it deserves some blame as well).  By the time I exited the train 29 minutes later in Bloomfield, NJ the Jazz were up 2 points going into the 4th quarter.  I arrived home in time to see one of the worst quarters of basketball in franchise history and watch my team’s season end.  However, I felt a small sense of relief.  I had one less place to story my anxiety and stress so I ended up getting an above average 6.5 hours of sleep that night.  It also obscured the fact that Jazz legend John Stockton had recently come out as an an anti-covid vax type weirdo.  June 18th should just be known as Black Friday for the Jazz organization (which is also what most people in Utah call the movie Friday, to distinguish it from Joe Friday in Dragnet).

 

Saturday – Can a Half Black Man Catch a Cab in Long Island?

On Juneteenth I headed out to Long Island early because the NJ transit trains are every other hour in my town on the weekends. So I left Bloomfield and eventually arrived in Hicksville, Long Island (a 9 minute drive from the club) at 5:01pm.  I saw that there was a Chick Fil-A a ten minute walk away so I went for some Christian chicken before the show.  Once I was finished I figured I could kill time until 6:10 before getting a cab for the 7pm show.  Well, no Lyfts were available.  So I walked back to the train station which has an old school cabby depot. No cabs available. So as I began to feel nervous about not making it to the club on time (I don’t have Uber on my phone, but apparently they are easier to get on Long Island, presumably because people on Long Island think it is “gay” to spell Lyft with a Y.  So, after contacting the club and the emcee I was able to hop a ride with Roy when his train arrived at 6:55 and we arrived shortly before the show began, albeit beginning about 15 minutes late.  The early show Saturday was the only show I was not happy with my performance. It was fine, but the other two were a lot better.  I think part of it was the 240% humidity combined with the stress of rushing to the club had me sweating like Ron Burgundy when he is racing back to the news station in Anchorman.

 

After the show, in addition to more The Black Guy Who Tips fans, I was greeted by a couple that was quoting my Lincoln Project ads back to me. But they were not following me on social media, nor did they know I would be there.  More accidental fans!  But more hilarious, though out of respect for Roy I will be cryptic, was what went on between the shows.  Let’s just say I do not envy the part of Roy’s success that leads to potential Hustle and Flow encounters:

 

The second show went well (I am resisting my usual video posting this year because I really want a lot of my bits to be new for most people when I record in October) and then I rode to LIRR with Roy.  Here is where the story gets interesting.

 

Because of the weird train schedules, Roy offered me a hotel if I needed one.  I said I would take one Saturday so that I could stay until the end of the 2nd show and not worry about missing the last NJ train out of NY Penn.  But for some reason, most hotels in the vicinity of the club were all booked, so the best option was a hotel that looked nice to me on the web in Jamaica, Queens (PSA: the Internet is deceptive). Roy’s assistant booked it and I thanked her.  The good news, on top of the catfish hotel photos, is that it was a quick walk from LIRR in Jamaica, which would also facilitate a quick departure in the morning.  Here, in bullet point form, is the rest of my trip (you know I got home safe because this blog is being written Sunday night):

  • Exit LIRR at 1am on Sutphin Boulevard. Look around and see some working folk and some ne’er do wells.  One way looks well lit and the other turn looks like an invitation to go out like Bruce Wayne’s parents.  Of course the GPS points me toward the darkened, abandoned street for 3 blocks.
  • When I arrive at my hotel, the lobby is not air conditioned.  There are two women who look like Snoop from The Wire sitting in the lobby with t-shirts that say “Security.”
  • The guest check in area is behind thick glass (this felt more like bullet protection than Covid protection)
  • I get my room on the 2nd floor and head up.  As I walk down the hallway of this fairly busy hotel I see a couple exit the room at the end of the hall. They seem sort of awkward. I could not tell if this man and woman were a couple or just the occupants of the room for a couple of minutes but they stood at the end of the hall as I approached. At this moment my math was “40% chance she’s a prostitute, 40% chance they are a couple and 20% chance they are a couple and are about to attempt a push-in robbery as soon as I tap my key card.”
  • They did not. I entered my room and proceeded to do my final Father’s Day Cameo (feeling that it might represent my final work). Went to bed at 2:30. Woke up at 6:30 and left at 710 for the 7:22 LIRR to Penn Station.  The night clerk was still up and gave me a look like “leaving so early? Were you not satisfied with your floor’s whore services?”

 

Fun weekend. Lots of reading on trains. Worked with one of the best in the business. And lived to write about it.

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Hosting (but not competing in) a Comedy Contest: Still…

This weekend I hosted a few shows as part of the Laughing Devil Festival in New York City.  I gave up a few years ago on entering comedy contests/festivals because a) I never won and b) no matter how often I said to myself, “Hey, just meet other comedians, have good shows and don’t worry about the contest component,” I would inevitably advance a round or two, which would kick in the competitive juices, just setting up disappointment and “but how did he/she advance based on that set?” sort of attitudes.  I have enough to be hostile, bitter or angry about with comedy without volunteering for more punishment.  But that said, I will gladly get paid to host shows at comedy contests, which is what I did Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.  And yet I still found myself angry, but for other comedians who did not advance.

Wednesday and Thursday shows were quarterfinal rounds of the contest at Broadway Comedy Club. The crowds were full and the sets were mostly excellent (everyone was doing five minutes sets so they should be excellent or close to).  In Wednesday’s lineup there was a comic from San Francisco who had a terrific set (Kevin Whittinghill), probably my favorite of the show, but he was discussing being divorced and as I heard my laughter getting louder and louder I realized I had given this comic the kiss of death.  If I am enjoying a comedian too much it can mean that the performer has a perspective and tone that may appeal to people with life experience and/or people over the age of 26 who did not arrive in NYC with fanny packs and I Love NY shirts (stop saying “I heart” assholes).  But wishing partial handicaps on the future child of your ex wife who is marrying the man with whom she cheated on you is funny, dark and not something you hear every day from the stage.  Another line I enjoyed (as the comedian mocked modern positivity) was “YOLO, right?  You know what YOLO is? It is from a Drake song and it means you only live once so you might as well write a terrible song.”  I knew the comedian would not advance though. I just had a feeling and I was right.  Not taking anything away from the other comedians, but five advanced and I was really disappointed Whittinghill not deemed top five.  I don’t know if he has any great material after the five minutes I saw and after conversations with him he has not been doing comedy for that long, but seeing a comedian get semi-screwed in a contest started to bring up feelings of my own comedy contest trauma.

Sidebar – I am so tired of the catering the industry is doing to “millennials.” When I was a teen and a young adult I did not need someone who looked like me to tell me jokes, or someone with the same empty thoughts to spout them back at me – I wanted Carlin, Rock, Girlado, etc to tell me their world view, to share their perspective because it was funnier and more interesting than what my friends and I were joking about.  But now in the age of “You’re the best” marketing and people walking into you while texting and tweeting on crowded streets because of their inflated sense of Sun-Revolves-Around-Me syndrome, people want to just give people what they want and what makes them think about themselves. Hence why Comedy Central is always asking “How do bros feel about this comedian?”

The next night I was hosting again and the lineup was even stronger overall than the Wednesday show.  Several people got huge laughs, but the comedian I thought had the best set of the night (Matt Ruby) did not advance.  I have known Ruby for a long time and I was familiar with most of his material, but his set was the best overall – crisp, funny, consistent throughout – like a very strong late night television set.  So for the second night in a row I ended up leaving the contest disappointed that my favorite set each night did not even advance.  I felt like a Vegas cooler – as soon as I endorsed or rallied around a comedian their chances immediately tanked.

The Semi-Finals on Saturday, which I hosted, took place not at Broadway Comedy Club, but at LOL Comedy Club, which takes place in a 5th floor room of a building on 43rd Street and appears to be the place where they will film Saw 8.  The competition was great, but for the 3rd straight show I left frustrated.  The two best sets of the night were rewarded with 1st and 2nd so that was all good (and I believe the person who won the semi-final round I hosted, Drew Michael, went on to win the whole contest and that certainly seemed like a worthy outcome), but two sets I thought were more than deserving of appearances in the finals (Mike Trainor and Jacob Williams) did not move on (this is not to disparage those that advanced or didn’t, but without a horse in the race I was surprised to see a comedian I had ranked 11th out of 12 based on that night’s sets advance to the finals).

So I must say the level of frustration was slightly diminished by not competing and seeing that the winner had delivered strong sets, but this week also showed that I can still get frustrated at seeing other people get semi-screwed over.  I don’t know if this means I am more empathetic than people give me credit for or if I am just angrier at comedy than even I realize.  Or maybe it is both.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic, iTunes and NOW on STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!

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Time Flies Even as Fun Dwindles – Comedy Reunion…

This weekend I did a fun reunion show with buddies/comedians past and present that I ran a show with for a couple of years in Hoboken, NJ.  The show was fun, the crowd was good and my wallet was one $20 bill heavier after the show.  We ran the show from 2006-2008 at Hoboken’s The Goldhawk and in the middle of what was a successful run (successful in comedy terms meaning fun shows, fun crowds, no loot) we were featured on the cover of a Hoboken free paper.  Here is what we looked like then:

Pat, Josh, Jim, Blogger in 2007

Now the joy you see on Josh’s face and arms is symbolic of the fact that he would be the first to bail on comedy.  It should also be noted that my shirt is tucked in. Something I have not done in 4 years to hide my frame’s transformation from NBA starting small forward, to retired NFL long snapper with a taste for cookies.

Well this is us from Saturday night at our reunion show.

3 white dudes and an ethnically ambiguous guy in the background - classic boy band formula

A fun night doing a show with some good people for some nice people.  Why haven’t any of us made it yet you ask?  Well, between the four of us our average age is 37 and our average facial hair is 11 year old Puerto Rican kid with a mustache (Jim’s barely there mustache and goatee = 11 year old mature Latino when divided by four).  So at least we had fun and that is what it is all about according to all the younger comics with success tell me on Facebook.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic, iTunes and NOW on STICHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe on one or more platforms today – all for free!

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Keep My Enemies Closer

Sorry for the misleading title, but this is not going to be a list of all of the people in comedy and life that I want to wipe away like when Michael Corleone handled all family business.  No, in much more pleasant news Keep My Enemies Closer is the title of my new album coming out in late September.  I reviewed my set from the Triad in May this weekend, and for the first time I was extremely pleased with what I listened to.  Even my last two albums, which I am extremely proud of (my very first one I am just proud of), did not please me on first listen as this one did.  But that is  not to say it is perfect.  Yet.  There were two bits I forgot to do and three bits I want to tighten up so if you missed the Triad taping (or if you were there but want to support again, since there will be around 20 minutes of material that was not recorded at the first taping), then please mark your calendar for July 12th.  I am recording one more headlining set to complete the album at the Laughing Devil Comedy Club in Long Island City (one stop from Grand Central Station on the 7 train).  Please get tickets HERE and share with friends.  Opening for me are the hilarious Chris Lamberth and John Moses.  And as a treat I have put a couple of short clips from the set up on YouTube and if you have ten minutes to spare check the clips out and share your favorite.

Lena Dunham

NYPD Cheaters

Gay Guys vs. Lesbians

Equal Storytime

Hopefully you enjoyed these.  And if you like any of my previous albums I promise you this is the best one by far.  Hope you can be part of the taping on July 12th.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic or iTunes. New Every Tuesday!

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10 Years In Comedy – A Cauvinary Tale

This weekend represented my last weekend as a 9 year stand up comic.  That is right, today marks the 10th anniversary of the first time I picked up a microphone attempting to be a stand up comic.  The venue was the Takoma Station Tavern, a jazz club in Washington, DC that played host to an open mic on Monday nights (it’s the laughs you don’t hear that make the difference).  The memorable things about that night were that my friend and law school classmate Hank came with his brother, the emcee referred to the sweat under a woman’s breast (the exact quote “fu*kin’ sweat under a titty be tastin’ like buttermilk”) and my set went very well for a first time.  I got a few laughs and did not forget any of the five minutes I had written and practiced for two weeks in my apartment. My thinking was simple: if I get booed or don’t get laughs I would have the set so committed to memory that I could get through it no matter what.  Now a whole lot of pain and some joy could have been avoided if that crowd at the Takoma Station Tavern had just told me to “get the fu*k off the stage” or booed very loudly (where is the student body of Medgar Evers College when you need them – STILL my worst gig in ten years), but they gave me enough support to motivate me to take the stage the next night (I use stage loosely to describe “The Cave,” a friendly and tiny room in the basement of a Best Western near Georgetown Law’s campus).  And that bit of preparation and good fortune ten years ago led to the weekend I will describe for you.

Me after a mic in DC in 2003-04, my first year in comedy. Smile has been reported missing since 2005.

I had a spot at the Laughing Devil on Friday night in Long Island City.  The attendance was very light, but I ended up having my best set in probably a year.  It was fifteen minutes, which was approximately one minute for every person who heard the set, and ten of the minutes had been brand new stuff I had been working on during the past week.  It all went well and to show you how far my perspective has come from that DC night ten years ago – the set pissed me off.  It pissed me off because I had just recorded an album set and this 15 minutes was not on it (now trying to schedule another show so I can edit together all the material I want on the new album). It also pissed me off because there were so few people there (while simultaneously making me feel guilty for not appreciating a top notch group of people in attendance).  One thing I tell young comedians, who are looking for (immediate) keys to success, is that you need to become successful before you lose most of your friends.  Success will keep your friends around and bring you fans.  Skill, without success will lose you friends (if you devote as much time and energy to comedy as is required) and not replace their vacancy with new-found fan support.  In The Dark Knight he said it was said “it is darkest just before the dawn.” Well in comedy, it is loneliest just before everyone wants a piece of your sh*t.

When I started comedy, my closest friends were in their early twenties which meant that they had no wives, no kids and were intrigued by the new activity I had chosen.  Now ten years later, despite a series of modest accomplishments and an act that grows and sharpens exponentially every year, almost all of them either have no time or no appreciation for what I do.  But because of the scarcity of feature work, the lack of a mentor or, more importantly, a manager I have not been able to advance my career to the point that fans fill the empty seats where enthusiastic friends once sat.   As an example, I can draw more people to a show in Philly or DC, where I am viewed as a comedian by the people in those cities who have seen me, than in NYC, where after 10 years some of my friends still tease me with the moniker “the comedian” as if it is some quirky, hopeless activity I participate in, like collecting stamps.  I mean, I know the average career in comedy now ranks slightly below poetry slamming, but I am no stamp collector!

Which brings me to the second illustrative event of the weekend.  I have not been booked for 2 1/2 years at a prominent comedy club chain in the country.  I was passed to work these clubs in 2009, received two bookings in 2010, three in 2011, at which point I received an unsolicited e-mail from the booker telling me the great things he had heard about my work and that I would be bumped up his list in priority.  This was great news and it led to zero bookings over the next 28 months.  These are clubs where I have gained fans, sold albums and been able to work with top tier headliners.  But I received an e-mail this weekend that basically said it is a buyers’ market for comedy right now and that I will remain on the fringe of booking priority.  So now other road gigs are still available, but the trajectory is not good.  From 2007-2011 I received more road work than the year before.  Then in 2012 that took a huge bump down and my calendar has yet to recover.  This leaves me with the option of becoming a headliner, which means becoming famous through something other than stand up to facilitate that, or writing off a couple dozen A-list clubs as avenues of potential income.

That brings me to the third emblematic moment of the weekend: Sunday. I received a last minute booking to be on an independently produced show at The Stand.  I also had a bar show afterwards in Astoria.  The show at The Stand went really well and I was extremely happy with my set.  Then I got paid.  This may not seem like something strange, but it was the first time I had a comedy club pay me for doing a spot in Manhattan.  That is right, after 10 years of comedy and 9 years in NYC doing it I have yet to be passed at a single Manhattan comedy club.  For the first half of my pursuit of comedy glory I did a lot of bringers at a lot of different clubs.  Then I decided to consolidate all of my efforts at one comedy club.  Any tape I needed I did a bringer at that club.  I put in face time at the club and went to shows there when I was not doing spots.  But for whatever stroke of bad luck, bad look or bad connections – I am not closer to being passed at that club or seemingly any others.  I no longer have the energy or spare time to “put in face time” at clubs because I still prefer to prioritize actually performing over face time, even if that means lonely bars in outer boroughs .   But still it felt good to have a club employee hand me some money for performing.

The second show of Sunday and the last official stage time of my 9th year was how I expected – a few laughs, a few blank stares and a barely audible amount of applause as I exited the stage.  I do not pretend to be an expert at the business of comedy, but I know I am an expert in comedy.  I know it and do it very well.  But this is no longer enough, or even the most important thing.  So despite the things that occurred in the middle of the last decade for my comedy career – in ten years I basically gained $25 and lost a few applause from the first night I did comedy.  Can’t wait for the next ten years.  It may not get better, but it can’t get much worse.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic or iTunes. New Every Tuesday!

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Comedy Recap: If an Album Is Recorded in the…

This past Saturday I recorded my 4th album at the Triad Theater in Manhattan.  I will be reviewing the recording this week and deciding what stays and what goes.  I do not know what the album title will be, but I do know that the three best tracks were “Why White Women Disappear,” “Cheating Cops,” and “The Main Goal of a Father” are three of the best bits I have on any of my albums (“cheating cops” was almost entirely off the cuff, which feels good).  And comedian Chris Lamberth did a masterful job opening up the show for me.  And then sharing cookies with me in my post-job well done show ritual.

The night was not without disappointment.  Despite having sold out my first two album recordings at the same venue and drawing over 130 people to Philadelphia for my third album, Too Big To Fail, I drew lightly, by comparison, for this show.  First I must say a heartfelt thank you to everyone  who showed up – the bonus for you is that you may be able to hear your individual laugh, which is one of the consistent bonus to people who come to my shows.  But it did feel bittersweet that I was able to draw a lot more people to a show on a Wednesday in Philadelphia than to a venue in my hometown on a Saturday.  But as I tweeted last week, stand up comedy life is basically a race to replace the friends you lose with fans before you go broke.  I feel like the perception in your hometown (if your hometown is NYC) until you get famous is “oh my friend is doing a thing,” but the novelty is gone from when you started, no matter how much better and accomplished you are.  However, doing something in another city than your hometown makes you look more significant because they only know you on the merit of your stand up.   But the lowest points were definitely a few hours before the show.  Here are my top (bottom) four moments:

  • 6 Hours before the show I get a text from a fellow comedian, who replied “maybe” to my Facebook invite, telling me where he and several comedians were meeting to watch the 8pm Knicks-Pacers game (I predicted Pacers in 6 three weeks ago so I could have saved a lot of time for people).  This was the first “uh oh” moment leading to the recording.  I look forward to the day I get married because I assume I will get an invite to a bar crawl from this person while I put on my tux.
  • 5 hours before the show I get a message on Facebook from a former work colleague that I invited to the show asking me “what is a good comedy club to go to tonight?”  This was the one that sort of threw my mindset off a little bit.  My philosophy is support me or ignore me, but don’t be oblivious to the point of interrupting my life with stupidity.  I replied with “Well I am recording my album tonight, but I suppose that does not count.”  He replied with some semi-non sequitur and I told him to use google.
  • When I saw my buddy log on to the Play Station network before leaving for the theater I said to myself  “I guess you are moving yourself from the ‘maybe attending’ to the ‘not attending’ list.”
  • One hour before the show I ran into a friend who lives on the same block as the theater who was leaving said block to go to a meeting and could not make the show.

So the set went well, the crowd was smaller than wanted, but great in enthusiasm.  The album will be damn good.  The last month of my comedy career has had more good things happen (got a gig co-hosting a web series with Discovery on dumb criminals/legal proceedings, got lots of buzz from the Louis CK video – we will see how far that buzz goes – and wrote and produced another surefire video hit, Alt Wolf coming out this week) than the last several years combined.  I was hoping that the show, which had some of the best bits I have ever written, would be the cherry on top of this month, but instead it was the crushed walnuts on the comedy sundae – useful, not bad, but not the perfect ending I hoped for.  But now I am more motivated than ever to continue this good run I have been having.  Look for the album this Summer. 

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic or iTunes. New Every Tuesday!

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In Two Days…

As if I needed another reason to root against the NY Knicks (besides the iritating Knick fan base and Melo and JR Smith’s bricklaying competition) tonight against the Indiana Pacers I now have one.  In two days I will be recording my new stand up comedy album at Stage 72 in NYC.  And the 9:00pm start time would go right up against the potential sixth game of the Knicks-Pacers series.  This is bad for multiple reasons.  One, it means the Knicks have won Game 5 and will have re-instilled an irrational belief in Knick fans that this is, once again, “their year.”  Two, it means I will not be able to see the Knicks last game of the season.  And three, people in NYC may be conflicted in deciding to watch an explosive 6’7″ guy who takes a lot of shots or Carmelo Anthony.  But my message to Knick fans is this: you can see your team disappoint you every April/May, but this will probably be my last album for a long time, if not ever so get tickets and come to the show.

Tickets can be bought here – http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/367876  Please spread the word and come out for it.  I promise you will not be disappointed.  I cannot say the same for watching the Knicks. If you need some convincing this week’s episode of my podcast was a selection of great tracks from my first three albums.  Enjoy!

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic or iTunes. New Every Tuesday! 

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Comedy Recap of the Week: Heckled by 3 Women…

I did a show in Park Slope last night – a show that I usually have fun at and  always find interesting.  It is run by the very funny comedian/Twitter-philosopher Yannis Pappas and there was a sizeable crowd most of the night at the small bar.  I was scheduled to go last because they were kind enough to give me a little extra time as I prep for my CD recording.  I started the set so-so, but then got into my quick bit about Fun. and Lena Dunham.  It received good laughs from the crowd according to my recording of the show, but I lost three women in the crowd (separate women – they were not friends or sitting with each other).  When I compared Dunham’s body to a manatee, which I assumed would elicit anger from manatee fans, I was shocked to hear these three women express displeasure.  I moved on to a bit that did well (though I carried it for about 30 seconds too long) about subtle racism in pop music and then I made the mistake of asking the crowd,”Did I lose you guys after the Lena Dunham bit – is she the patron Saint of Brooklyn ( if you recall from one of last week’s posts – I got a similar reaction from some people at a different Brooklyn location)?”  And then the three women spoke up.  To introduce you to the cast of characters:

1) The unfunny woman trying comedy who bombed 20 minutes before I went on stage, a/k/a Ms. Unfunny.  This woman is trying to do comedy and apparently the first lesson she learned was to save her best quips for a comedian who follows her.  To put it this way, she was so bad the Huffington Post has put her on a list of women NOT to follow on Twitter.  Her set was bad, but her comment that I had the same physique as Dunham (considering I am in the worst shape of my life and a man I am not sure how that is defending Dunham, but so be it).  My response was to tell her “you are a suicide bomber comedian – you go into a room and not only destroy your own set, but ruin other comedians’ sets as well.  Congrats.”  I then told her she should quit and that her set would technically not count as a start in comedy anyway. 

Now for anyone who thinks this is me complaining about an unfunny woman, I am not.  A person trying comedy for what appears to be the first time should know enough not to heckle another performer – especially for the sole reason that he mocked the creator of an HBO show.

2) The woman who demanded napkins from me several times during the show without a thank you or a please because apparently I am her employee AND she had lengthy, unwanted conversations with multiple comics during their sets when she interrupted her nonstop texting sessions, a/k/a Princess.   Her claim to fame at this point was that during the Dunham discussion she said, without taking credit, “Where’s the guy Yannis told to ‘waaaa waaaaaaaaaaaaa’ after a bad joke?”  She did not take credit for it once I focused on her, but we eventually had a heart to heart at the end of my set (foreshadowing).

3) A woman with a very tough, big-chick-escorting-JamieLannister-on-Game-Of-Thrones haircut also chimed in – but she doesn’t get a nickname because after she voiced very brief disapproval of my joke about Dunham she said nothing else to my memory.  So I guess thanks for respecting or at least tolerating 99% of my set like a civilized audience member.

Now there is a reason I generally do not engage hecklers.  I have no moderation.  I go from ignoring them to wanting to curb stomp them like in American History X.  But during this first interruption I kept my cool and actually recovered nicely for another 7 minute stretch of material and laughter.  I did throw in an “unlike Sam Morril (the comedian who was mired in a big blogosphere discussion on rape jokes last week), I am advocating violence against women” but we moved on.  I actually did a new bit about how I put on too much weight, so in a move that would make feminist bloggers proud I took the insults from Ms. Unfunny and turned them into an empowering statement about how I often eat cookies out of my own garbage can.

For a while I was feeling really good because I felt like I had moved on from a very awkward phase and was getting laughs. And then with exactly 2 minutes left in my set I went Neil in Heat.  What I mean by that is not that I started humping legs like a dog named Neil.  I am referring to the concluding scene in Heat where Robert DeNiro’s character has narrowly escaped trouble and is on the way to the airport with his girlfriend about to live his life free and rich, but at the last second he makes a pitstop near the airport to kill the man who betrayed him in the beginning of the film.  That decision changes everything and leads to his (spoiler of a 1995 film) death.  And that is what I did in the last 2 minutes.  Here is a sample of what I said:

“Who cares about rape jokes… I am wishing death on two people in this audience.”

“That Cleveland case was horrific, wasn’t it.  The silver lining is that that 6 year old will grow up to either be horrible in bed… or fantastic.”

Now those lines were meant to horrify.  The second line is along the lines of a well worked out bit I have (though it is not part of the bit), but I blurted out this clearly insensitive line just to elicit horror and oh boy, did it ever.  I do not do this ever and do not advocate shocking comedy for shock’s sake, but I wanted to rile up the people I was pissed at in the audience.  Here is the transcript:

(Silence)

Princess: I can’t even… that is disgusting…

Me:  I know it is. So are you. Fu*k you.

Random Irish Guy: No man – fu*k you – everything else was fine, but fuck that.

Princess: That was disgusting.

Me: I know, but this is not my Comedy Central taping (random chuckles).  Thank you for the time though Yannis.

Princess: Have some grace for that girl.

Me: Grace? You have been a rude cu*t this whole show.  You demand napkins at the bar like I’m an employee.  You’re cute and you have an iPhone that you have not stopped looking at the whole show, except to interrupt, but you are a piece of shit as a person so fu*k your grace comments…. Frank Gallo and Yannis Pappas than you for the time. Not sure if I picked up any Twitter followers tonight.

I then exited the stage and gave Princess a huge smile.  The Irish guy tapped me on the shoulder and said “You were hilarious but that one line was too much.” And he was right. 

So after reviewing this I apologize for last night to the audience at Bar 4, even though I am really sad only because I reflected poorly on myself.  And I used valuable stage time to get into personal attacks instead of using it for working on other bits.  So my advice to comics is use stage time wisely, try not to be too mean if it is not necessary, don’t heckle other comics if you are a comedian (or atempting to be one), and if you see the woman known as Princess in this blog, don’t let her in to your show.

Don’t forget tickets to my new CD recording May 18th in NYC can be bought HERE – http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/367876

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on Podomatic or iTunes. New Every Tuesday!

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Joe Rogan, Jason Collins and No Money: My Huge…

So my name and Internet exposure continue to grow after the initial burst from the Louis CK parody video I did.  I got a spirit lifting message on Facebook last night as I shuffled from west village open mic to lightly attended Brooklyn bar show.   To paraphrase the message: “Hey Amy Schumer just mentioned your CK video on Joe Rogan’s podcast and they are loving it.”  This was refreshing in many ways.  One, it was good to know the video would get a little bit more exposure. Two, it was good to see Amy Schumer had not forgotten about the metaphorically little people who were doing bringers and open mics with her for a couple of years before she made an ever so slight move ahead of us in the comedy world (between the two of us we have grossed hundreds of thousands of dollars in comedy).  And three, I liked seeing Joe Rogan and Ari Shaffir laugh at the video, especially since Shaffir seemed to know more about me than Schumer remembered, despite the fact that I only was in the same room as Shaffir and Rogan once, when I got bumped off of a Father’s Day show in Atlanta at The Punchline because Rogan only does two person shows (but no hard feelings – I crushed some nearby IHOP during their show, so no harm no foul (or money).

Click Here for My “Appearance” on The Joe Rogan Experience

If that was not a good enough way to keep my name going strong, my podcast episode cleared 3300 downloads/listens this week, making it my most popular episode to date.  I was discussing Summer movies, but also riffing and discussing the Jason Collins story and apparently that triggered some hiccup or spasm on the Internet that led to a major uptick in downloads.  If you want to listen to it check it here.  Or maybe because it was episode 69 it just received a lot of lost porn fans.

But in case anyone was afraid this might have a happy ending it does not.  The Google loot has not started to roll in yet (220,000 views puts me only many months from the first Google penny being minted) and the podcast is free, which are two reasons why I write these  from an office in Manhattan, until that glorious day when Louis CK punches me in the face and I sue him for $1 million, which will lead to a wave of inspired lawsuits (when comedy websites and social media experts begin reporting me as a trailblazer in new ways to make money in comedy – “the old way of getting famous and rich without getting your ass kicked is a thing of the past!”).

But the good news is my new album recording is fast approaching (which will put some money in my pocket temporarily) and tickets can be bough HERE for the May 18th 9pm recording at NYC’s Triad Theater. Please buy the rest of the seats up now and get friends to join you or buy their own.

Lastly, in a hopeful epilogue the script for my new sketch for release in mid-to-late May will be done tonight.  So catch up on my YouTube channel and get ready for more fun.  If the May video is even close to the success of the CK video I will have to start a Kickstarter for my July video because it is going to be big (hence no June video), and actually much more daring and impressive than the CK one (by a lot), so it iwill require money that I don’t have.  Speaking of which, back to the spreadsheets.

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One Month Until The New Album Recording!

One month from today (May 18th if you are bad at words and math) I record my 4th stand up album LIVE in NYC at the Triad Theater.   Get tickets here:

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/367876

I would love to pack the place.  Tickets are only $10 so please organize your friends and colleagues who are frieds of stand up comedy (and not easily offended hopefully, but I will accept their money anyway) and buy tickets in advance (advance sales are key for me).

Thanks – see you in a month!